Four disciplines and a national program. Lessons from a collaboration to strengthen a palliative care simulation–based learning experience (SBLE)

Ms Kylie Ash1, Mr David Klug1, Mr Nathan Reeves2, Distinguished Professor Patsy Yates1, Ms Marie-Claire 0’Shea2

1Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Australia, 2Griffith University, Southport, Australia

Background of the project or initiative: Griffith University academics hold expertise in interprofessional simulation-based learning and individual discipline curricula. The Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates (PCC4U) project aims to improve the skill and confidence of health professionals to care for palliative patients. These teams collaborated to redesign elements of a SBLE to develop palliative care and interprofessional capabilities.

The method of research or project implementation: A Collaboration Agreement provided a framework for rights and responsibilities of collaborating partners. The PCC4U palliative care graduate capabilities and interprofessional capabilities informed the review of learning objectives for four discipline cohorts and curriculum mapping. The PCC4U team provided advice on integrating PCC4U resources to strengthen the inclusion of palliative care in the online, pre-simulation learning module and 5.5 hour face-to-face high-fidelity human-patient simulation experience. Post activity, ninety-eight students (39 dietitians, 12 exercise physiologists, 41 pharmacists, and 5 social workers) completed a 44-item PCC4U Palliative Care Graduate Capability Questionnaire.

Project results: Key enablers of this collaboration included early engagement allowing time for planning, review and development activities. Academics’ expertise in individual discipline and interprofessional capabilities enhanced mapping of learning objectives to the palliative care capabilities. The curriculum mapping identified opportunities to improve palliative care learning. PCC4U resources were integrated in a range of formats including eLearning modules, interactive tutorials, lecture and simulation. SBLE feedback was captured though peer review, student survey, critical observers and stakeholder reflection.

Discussion of the outcomes and implications: The PCC4U project supports the inclusion of palliative care through the provision of free learning and teaching resources and partnership opportunities. PCC4U resources provided a valuable foundation in the development and delivery of palliative care education for different health disciplines. Griffith University cross-discipline and sector collaboration has strengthened the review, redevelopment and ongoing refinement of SBLE which will inform delivery in 2019. Further research is required to understand the impact of SBLE on students’ preparation to work with palliative patients in an interdisciplinary context.


Kylie Ash is a Registered Nurse with experience in clinical and education roles in oncology and haematology practice settings. Kylie has been involved in a number of large national workforce development projects to improve the intersection of health education and evidence based practice with health policy. Kylie is currently the National Manager for the Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates project (PCC4U). Kylie is actively engaged with professional nursing organisations and is committed to promotion of excellence within the cancer and palliative care workforce.


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